I remember Spencer’s velvety gray ears, his constantly twitching nose, his long transparent whiskers, how the fur under his paws was yellowed and brown, how his testicles looked like wrinkled purple cocoons. We acquired him from our neighbor, who bought a bunch of rabbits from a pet store, in a moment of short-sighted weakness, and left them all in her backyard. Rabbits, as they are wont to do, reproduced quickly, and soon she had a semi-feral rabbit colony in her yard. I like to think we rescued Spencer from her. Dad built him a two-story bunny mansion in the backyard and lovingly stained the wood and added waterproof house shingles to the roof. When we were kind, we’d pick him up and cradle him on his back as if he were our baby. When we were unkind, we’d zip him up in purses and throw him down on the ground too roughly. He was always good to us, miraculously. Rabbits are not necessarily great pets for small children; they are nervous and tend to bite when cornered. But Spencer was astonishingly good-natured; he never bit any of us, even though he had plenty of reason to over the years.

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